Turns out Donald Trump Jr. wasn’t the only campaign official who sent some shady emails to a Russian official (or a someone purporting to be a Russian official). Shocking!
Rick Dearborn, a campaign aide who went on to become President Trump’s deputy chief of staff, reportedly forwarded colleagues an email from an individual attempting to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Members of congress charged with investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian officials have reviewed Dearborn’s emails, according to CNN.
The unidentified person who contacted Dearborn apparently relayed information to him concerning a possible meeting between campaign officials and Putin. Dearborn’s conversation with the individual, who was referred to by the initials WV suggesting a connection to West Virginia, took place in June 2016. A source who confirmed the existence of Dearborn’s email exchange added that he seemed skeptical of the sender.
It’s unclear who the individual is, what he or she was seeking, or whether Dearborn even acted on the request. One source said that the individual was believed to have had political connections in West Virginia, but details about the request and who initiated it remain vague.
Dearborn, who was Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff for 12 years while he was senator, also helped organize an April 2016 fundraiser that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reportedly attended (this is the same event that prompted Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation, along with a few other undisclosed meetings with Kislyak).
Congressional investigators hadn’t probed Dearborn until the emergence of these alleged emails. However, Dearborn’s apparent effort to arrange a meeting between Trump campaign aides and Putin renews scrutiny into Sessions’ meetings with Kislyak when he was a campaign surrogate — it’s unclear what role, if any, Dearborn played in arranging those meetings.